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Ramon Rodriguez, COE spokesman, reads the bulletin today. Luis Luna Paulino, in orange vest.
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SANTO DOMINGO. - The number of deaths caused by the Tropical Storm Noel rose to 66, with 27 missing, 52 communities cut off and the 62,428 people evacuated in zones under risk, said the Dominican emergency response agency (CNE) at noon Thursday.

In its bulletin read on television and radio today, the CNE also placed the country’s 31 provinces on red alert, and that 21,503 evacuees have been taken to 110 shelters nationwide.

COE director Manuel Antonio Luna said the floods from the storm damaged over 15,000 houses, 664 of them totally.

The official said the governmental has established an airlift between the southern mountain city San José de Ocoa and San Cristóbal, 20 miles west of the capital, to take dozens of patients who need urgent medical attention to a regional hospital, including two women in final stage of pregnancy.

This morning, COE reported the collapse of 35 bridges around the country.

Communications restored

In a related development, Emiliano Reyes Espejo the spokesman for Indotel, the country’s telecommunications agency, said communication has been restored in the countries southwest region, the hardest hit by Noel.

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